Ethics

Rediscovering horses, part 1 

The flight animal fallacy

Horses are not inherently reactive

Horses are flight animals. So it says in many a book on horse handling and riding. But according to biologist, activist and teacher in animal cognition and ethics, Dr. Francesco De Giorgio, seeing the horse as a flight animal is a misunderstanding. In fact, unless you are talking about animals who are able to fly, the term flight animal doesn't even exist outside equestrian circles. The idea of an animal ruled and defined primarily by its flight instinct was invented by horsemanship trainers looking to sell methods of control and restraint. From there, it spread to mainstream equestrianism and even into equine behavioural science. Now it's time to let go of the idea of the horse as a flight animal, says Dr. De Giorgio. Instead, we should view the horse as a cognitive animal.

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